This question popped up as I was wondering if I could use my haze masks in place of a even normal-er surgical mask.

Didn't find any answers (or even the question) anywhere. I looked up 3M's respirator catalogues but they do not mention any difference between a normal N95 respirator e.g. 8210 versus a medical variant e.g. 1860.

Apart from the obvious blue color applied to the medical variant, I am guessing that the medical variants are physically same but that it just had to be put through additional certifications/approvals/tests e.g. BFE. These additional certifications would be additional costs to 3M if they only had one variant as they are not needed if not used for medical purposes.

(I am guessing this way as the 9211+ has a sister variant 9322A+ which is only for Australia that is certified to ANZ P2 standards instead of NIOSH N95 standards)

Link to 3M respirator catalogue: https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/769925O/3m-disposable-respirators-catalogue.pdf

So my question is that apart from the additional paperwork that they have gone through, are the medical variants physically different to normal variants? If so do they make the medical variant marginally better than the normal variants. If the normal variant is inferior, does it hinder its ability to be used for medical purposes? e.g. in lieu of a surgical mask

  • This is a question you need to direct to the manufacturer.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 17:04
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because we don't evaluate or review products here.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 17:05
  • @CareyGregory It is a mistake to close the question because this is the exact answer to that question: Surgical N95 vs. Standard N95 – Which to Consider? multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1839703O/…
    – polcott
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 13:56
  • @polcott I look forward to your answer. Just please make it only an answer, not a review.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Properly fit tested N95 respirators filter out 95% of 0.35 micron particles that the wearer would otherwise inhale.

N95 respirators without an exhalation valve filter out 95% of 0.35 micron particles equally well for inhalation as exhalation These masks protect others from the wearer as well as they protect the wearer from others.

Medical masks have additional features required by FDA approval in surgical settings. The general public should not buy these masks, they must be reserved for medical personnel. They are physically different in that they never have exhalation valves and they protect against fluids such as blood spray from a human artery being punctured during surgery.

The following diagram has been quoted from this source:

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